The Middle East Region Global Studies SPRING 2010
What makes it up • Lebanon • Israel • Jordan • Syria • Egypt • Saudi Arabia • Yemen • Oman • United Arab Emirates • Qatar • Bahrain • Kuwait • Iraq • Iran • Turkey • Afghanistan
Why It Matters • We depend on oil- 60% of the worlds oil is found in this region. We do business here, and we are fighting wars here.
Location • Crossroads to three continents • Africa, Asia, and Europe. • Region a ‘connector’ for trade routes. • Allows for the spread of ideas and inventions. • Today it has strategic importance for transportation
Physical Regions and Climate • Northern Tier • Turkey-Iran • Mountains / plateaus • West: fertile soil / high population • East is dry / few people • Arabian Peninsula • 1/3 of the U.S. size • Dry • Most people live around oases, huge amounts of oil • Fertile Crescent • fertile soil / abundant water • Nile Valley • Nile River is great for agriculture / deserts to the east and west
Physical Characteristics • Climate has dictated where people live. • Less than 10% of the land receives enough water to support farming. • 2 ways to get additional water: • Shadufs are still used in Egypt • Desalinization • Oil (which is unequally distributed) is the chief resource, followed by salt, phosphorus, and copper.
Major Mountains • Ranges in the Middle East include the Hejaz Asir on the Western coast of the Arabian Peninsula • Taurus Mts on the Southern part of Turkey • The Caucasus Mts separating the ME from Europe • The Zagros Mts in Southern Iran and Elburz Mts in Northern Iran
Water Water Everywhere…sorta • While the region is dominated by deserts and mountains, it depends on a fertile plain along the Med, Caspian Sea, and Persian Gulf for agriculture • For a region with lots of deserts, its surrounded by water • Arabian Peninsula is called so because it is surrounded by 3 bodies of water- Gulf of Aden, Red Sea, and Persian Gulf • The Dardanelles, Marmara Sea and Aegean and Black Seas separate this region from Europe
Cradle of Civilization • Nile River and the area surrounding it are fertile and gave birth to one of the earliest civilizations • 90% of Egypt's population live around the Nile • The Aswan Dam was built to control the flow and give power to the rest of the country • Lake Nasser was created with the dam to store water and for irrigation
Mesopotamia • The Tigris and Euphrates River valleys are very fertile- this region was called Mesopotamia “land between 2 rivers” • A lot of times it is called the fertile crescent • Today this region makes up Iraq, Turkey, Syria and Iran
Natural Resources • Over 60% of the world’s oil and 50% of the world’s natural gas are in this region • These oil producing countries organized in the 1960s into a group called OPEC • Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries
Members Only • The original members of OPEC included Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela. OPEC has since expanded to include seven more countries (Algeria, Angola, Indonesia, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, and United Arab Emirates) making a total membership of 12.
Deserts • Deserts make up almost 50% of this region • Weather conditions are extreme • Deserts consist of a few features • Ergs- sandy dune covered areas • Regs- desert pavement • In Saudi Arabia, Rub al-Khali makes up the lower part of the peninsula
3 major religions • Since this region is a mix of major continents, lots of religions meet here as well • Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are the largest • These cause conflicts in many areas- most famous is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict